FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell hit dangerously close to my fanatica. I understood Cath’s character TOO well, as many fangirls would. This was a lot of fun to read, an escape from my normal adrenaline fueled YA fantasy. I was surprised at at the real story – a heart-aching family drama, the first taste of college, a delicate romance, and the different threads that makes us who we are.
It was a fun read, a little young for me, but still fun. Cather is a writer of fan fiction, playing in a world of Simon Snow magical mage extraordinaire. I could feel the author Rainbow Rowell’s fan love drip in nearly every mention of the orphan boy with magical gifts. This part was extremely enjoyable for me, a borderline spastic HP geekgirl. The voicing of both the book from “Gemma T. Lesley” and “Magicath” we different enough I could tell when I was reading the real books and Cather’s fan fiction creation. I think that is tremendously tricky and commend the author for it. The excerpts from the books were fun and my inner nerd wanted these books to be real, a fun tidbit that helped the book move.
I gave it four stars, not because the writing a characters weren’t awesome, just because it typically was not my kind of read and I don’t have much to compare it to.
(For my conservative friends, there is language, but harmless in every other respect.)
“Bring daytime to darkness and shadow to light.” ~Vivatera
It’s finally here.
I remember the day I decided to sign the contract with Xchyler back in 2012, the day after Thanksgiving. I was at my In-Law’s eating a hot turkey open-faced sandwich. I remember opening the email and freaking out a little… well, actually, a lot. They liked Vivatera so much they wanted the series. I remember thinking that if I do this, I am making a commitment to readers. There was just so much story to tell. We all know the rest.
The second book, CONJECTRIX, was written by the time I signed with the X. The third, however, was not. When I finished editing Conjectrix in 2014, the story and characters had become alive to me, like really great friends. And then something strange happened, I didn’t want to finish the series. I didn’t want anything tragic to happen to my friends, I liked them all too much. Just keep them in this safe glass dome forever.
So, facing finishing EVERSTAR was a battle, the biggest uphill-both-ways type of struggle. Several tears were shed, many heart-wrenching hours were spent agonizing over what I wanted to write and what the story needed to tell – it happens. But, through all the sweat and sacrifice, comes joy.
I’m very, VERY proud to introduce to you EVERSTAR, the FINAL chapter in my trilogy, my labor of love. The date has not yet been released, but look forward to early spring. I will soon have ARCs available for review. If you’re interested, follow the link here to Xchyler’s Bloggers and Reviewers page. You can find EVERSTAR in NEW RELEASES.
And because I love you all so much, I am giving a special gift to those who review my books on Amazon or Goodreads. Every star helps. Click on my STAY CONNECTED page to find out more.
I’m excited to be part of Ben Ireland’s newest release KINGDOM CITY: REVOLT. Don’t miss him as he travels the world (no, really, seriously) on his International Blog Tour. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter below. Ben’s giving away fantastic art from Luke Spooner, the artist that designed his covers. And don’t forget to check out my interview with the man himself on my blog. ~ Candie
KINGDOM CITY: REVOLT by Ben Ireland hits the interweb January 3oth. Follow our blog tour and Rafflecopter giveaway for the chance to win great prizes! Visit each blog each day for more ways to enter. KINGDOM CITY: REVOLT is Book 2 of the near-future dystopian series by Ben Ireland, with strong science fiction and urban fantasy elements.
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I gave this five stars for a few reasons…
First, this book tricked me. If an author can trick me, where I can’t predict what was about to happen, then I love you. You are what I wish to be.
Second, sheer charm. I thought it was funny and the characters were well crafted. I enjoyed each character and felt they had their own story and individuality. Also, the story was so well-crafted that it wouldn’t be complete without all the characters. Each had a role and a decision.
And speaking of story-craft, this is impeccably-designed storytelling – a lost art. Starting with flawless world building all the way to the ingenious magic system, this book had everything I look for in books. The magic system was so concise, so well-planned, so individualized that I can vision it, feel it, smell it. THAT’S what a magic system should do – make you feel that it’s real.
Sanderson’s writing is easy to conceive and visualize. This world is painful and deep with heart-wrenching realism. It’s complicated and perplexing, but yet so freely expressed that anyone could understand it. For an author, this is not easy to teach, this is talent.
I weep with jealousy. Good job!
View all my reviews
On the Isle of Sound and Wonder
I will admit Steampunk intimidates me. I’m afraid of gadgetry and mechanization that is, basically, over my head. My imagination is so fanciful I need magic in my stories. So, I was slightly intimidated when I picked up On the Isle of Sound and Wonder. But I’m a sucker for covers and LOOK AT THE COVER!! I’m in AWE!
My fears quickly vanished. Grauer marries both magic and mechanics into an intelligent, well-crafted, seamless retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I was immediately drawn into a vivid world of mysterious voodoo magic, flying airships, and intellectual automatons, who if I can say this, reminding me a lot of adorable Baymax.
In comparing the Shakespearean work, Grauer’s love and understanding of the original text shines through with her careful crafting and storytelling. There is more intensity with both relationships, depth of characters, and heightened danger among the island that cannot be translated to the stage. As a novel, the back stories of several characters can come to light, which I really enjoyed and kept the action and story moving. She didn’t veer so far from the play that you wouldn’t recognize it, but highlighted its potential, pleasing the Shakespearean connoisseur in me.
Grauer’s clever play with names, places, and features complement the original text. Mira (modern Miranda) proved a strong interpretation of a growing young woman facing the harsh island life, and is a valiant example of a sacrificial heroine any girl could aspire to.
I had the delightful pleasure of meeting Alyson Grauer at Salt City Steamfest last July and she is just as colorful and lively as her book. I loved… LOVED this book!